The new copyright law clarifies the nature of copyright protection, confirms its ability to be assigned and prescribes the contract terms for copyright assignment.
The fair-use doctrine, which under the previous law allowed for certain uses of copyrighted material without permission from the owner, has been restricted. Radio and television stations must now pay for the use of published music but are not required to notify the copyright owner in advance.
Stronger enforcement measures have been introduced to combat copyright infringement. The burden of proof is now placed on the party suspected of infringement. Any publisher, manufacturer, or distributor who cannot prove that their copying is authorized will now be held liable. Preliminary injunctions and orders for the preservation of evidence may now be granted prior to litigation, whereas previously these would only be granted if a party had filed an action.
Damages have been increased and a higher level of statutory compensation is now available for the economic loss suffered by the copyright owner or where the illegal income derived by the infringing party is difficult to determine. Compensation up to RMB 500,000 (US $60,000) may be awarded.
Article 23 of the new copyright law permits a form of statutory licensing whereby extracts of published works are allowed to be included as part of a compilation in school text-books, unless the author has expressly forbidden such use. Emphasis is placed on the public benefit derived thereon, and that the author must be compensated.